Sergio Aguero’s international career could be at an end – just as the Argentine striker is on course to win the Golden Boot.
The in-form Manchester City talisman has not played for his country since they were knocked out of the World Cup in June.
And the belief in Buenos Aires is that the 30-year-old will now only get a place in Lionel Scaloni’s squad for this summer’s Copa America in Brazil if there are injuries to other players.
Scaloni insists he has not fallen out with Aguero.
However, the Argentina coach is set to pick five forwards for the Copa America – and Lionel Messi, Mauro Icardi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Martinez and Lautaro Martinez are the names in the frame.
Aguero has been in blistering form for City this season, scoring 29 times in all competitions, as boss Pep Guardiola chases a historic quadruple.
His 19 Premier League goals have put the Argentine in the frame for both the Golden Boot and the Footballer of the Year award.
Aguero has scored 39 goals in 89 appearances for his country and has been a regular since making his debut as an
18-year-old against Brazil.
His form for City was expected to earn him an international recall for the friendlies against Venezuela and Morocco.
Argentina were already missing Inter Milan striker Icardi, who was left out after a recent contract dispute with his club.
So it was a shock when Scaloni opted to go with Gonzalo Martinez, the 25-year-old who plays as an attacking midfielder in the MLS for Atlanta United, and Icardi’s San Siro team-mate Lautaro Martinez.
Scaloni succeeded Jorge Sampaoli in the summer, having previously managed the Under-20s and being part of the senior coaching set-up at the World Cup.
He is adamant that he remains on good terms with Aguero.
Scaloni said: “I want to clarify that my relationship with him is perfect.
“I have heard and read that I had an argument – but it is absolutely false.”